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Celebrate 200 years of Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’

29th August 2013 Print
Groombridge Place

Watch costumed interpreters perform the roles of some of our countries favourite literary characters around the Gardens and Enchanted Forest of Groombridge Place on the weekend of Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 September 2013.

The interpreters from ‘Past Pleasures’ will use authentic costumes, storytelling, voice projection, singing and dancing skills to allow visitors to experience life in a bygone age.

Groombridge Place has remained largely untouched since it was built over 350 years and its romantic setting has seduced both film producers and authors over the years.  Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice was filmed at Groombridge Place and the delightful 17th century manor masqueraded as Longbourn (home of the Bennets) for the 2005 film Pride and Prejudice starring Keira Knightley.  This year marks the 200th publication anniversary of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice which is set in early 19th century English society and introduces us to the famous characters of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy.  Jane Austen is set to replace Charles Darwin on the new ten pound note, making her the third woman to ever appear on British Currency other than a member of the royal family, behind Florence Nightingale and Elizabeth Fry.

Characters from the Sherlock Holmes mysteries can also be seen as Groombridge Place over the literary weekend as the author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who lived in nearby Crowborough and wrote the Sherlock Holmes mysteries, was a frequent visitor to Groombridge Place, where he used to take part in séances, which were popular at the time.   Visitors can see his study which has been recreated in the grounds of the estate.  Recognisable local features appear in at least two of his Sherlock Holmes stories and Groombridge Place itself was named Birlstone Manor in the book "The Valley of Fear" and described as presenting ‘one of the finest surviving examples of the moated Jacobean residence’. One particular corner of the garden is still clearly identifiable as the spot where Dr Watson overheard a conversation of great significance to the case.  The Drunken Garden at Groombridge Place was the favourite garden of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Groombridge Place lay empty for twenty years and during that time the infamous Groombridge Gang began smuggling activities. Several times, dragoons were called to restore order in Groombridge. One persistent legend which dates back to that time is that of a tunnel between the cellars at Groombridge Place and those of the nearby Crown Inn, although no such tunnel has ever been found.  During the literary weekend the Enchanted Forest will be home to a smuggling gang whose camp will be in the woods!

The event is free with admission which includes entry to the Enchanted Forest and the award winning gardens which overlook the 17th century moated manor house.  The birds of prey displays will also take place at 12.30 and 3.30 each day.

The Peacock Bistro will be serving lunches and cream teas.

See website for details

Groombridge Place with its award-winning gardens and Enchanted Forest is open daily between 9.30am and 5.30pm (last admission 4pm). The well-stocked shop is open daily.

The attraction is less than 4 miles from town and accessible by road or via the Spa Valley Railway in Tunbridge Wells which has a station a short walk from the attraction.

Groombridge Place, Groombridge Hill, Groombridge, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN3 9QG

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Groombridge Place